Well, that was quick. The Hoyas bowed out of The Big East Tournament in the second round today, losing to UConn 79-62. It was the team’s fourth straight loss after Chris Wright went down with a broken hand. After making an amazing run to the finals last year, Georgetown will head back to D.C. early and begin preparing for the NCAA Tournament. The team will have some time to learn from their early New York exit and adjust before the Big Dance.
It can’t be stressed enough how important Wright is to Georgetown’s success. His presence on the court makes everyone better, and without him the Hoyas not only suffer offensively, but defensively as well. Today, the squad’s offense was stagnant, as they only had six assists (three from big man Nate Lubick), compared to 16 turnovers. Wright himself averages 5.4 assists per game. His absence was also part of the reason Georgetown shot only 22.7% from downtown. Without Wright, the team needs to shoot well from behind the arc to win, but they need Wright to create those open looks.
“He gets everybody open, he finds everybody and he can also create for himself,” Jason Clark said of the injured point guard.
Wright is arguably the team’s best defensive player as well and without him guarding Kemba Walker, the Huskies star player had his way with the Hoyas. Wright wouldn’t have been able to stop him, but containing him enough would have helped his teammates focus more on their other assignments.
Big Man Who?
The only thing worse than having one big man in foul trouble is having two big men in foul trouble. The Hoyas were greatly maligned because of their lack of inside game. Both Julian Vaughn and Nate Lubick got into early foul trouble and never had a chance to get in a groove. Both of them spent much of the second half on the bench, each tallying four fouls less than eight minutes into the second half. Vaughn finished with zero points in one of his worst games ever, and Lubick didn’t do much better, contributing only four points. Henry Sims couldn’t provide any relief off the bench either.
“[Vaughn and Sims] were not playing well so we went with a different lineup,” John Thompson III said. “Does that affect things? Yes. But they were not producing. You have to produce.”
The Hoyas were outscored in the paint 38-26, most of which were Freeman and Clark. The duo accounted for 43 of the team’s 62 total points.
The Hoyas will have time to improve, but there will also be a lot of waiting. They will have to wait to see what seed the NCAA selection committee will give them. They will also have to wait on Chris Wright.
“We are absolutely anticipating that,” JTIII said in regards to Wright being available for the NCAA Tournament.
Besides the prospect of Wright rejoining the team, the Hoyas can take solace in the fact that they now have plenty of time to prepare for the Big Dance.
“Having a break here could be beneficial as we get ready to go to the next part,” JTIII said.